A group of hackers are to go on trial after stealing up to $18 million from Electronic Arts by mining FIFA Ultimate Team coins from the games servers.
According to the FBI, Anthony J. Clark and three other hackers are alleged to have stolen the coins and re-sold them to the black market in Europe and China where they were then sold on to other players. The four are facing trial on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The indictment, which can be seen below (click to enlarge the snippets), claims that Clark and team created an app which sent fraudulent messages to the game servers representing thousands of matches that were never played. In turn, the game servers awarded multiple accounts with the virtual currency in FIFA. The coins were then transferred to unauthorized coin re-selling sites around the world.
The government, in USA v. Anthony Clark, seeks the forfeiture of $millions of money, vehicles and property gained from carrying out the act.
Clark and team form part of a group going by the name of “Xbox Underground” and have previously been convicted from stealing software from Valve, Microsoft and other companies back in 2014.
While the theft of virtual currency may not appear to affect legitimate players, it should be noted that the prevalence of these unauthorized marketplaces can adversely affect the in game economy. So those players that once cost $14 million, can be inflated to higher amounts due to the massive amount for FIFA Ultimate Team coins in the system.